“There’s a price wave coming”: Netzagentur fears the gas price will triple

“There’s a price wave coming”
Network agency fears that gas prices will triple

After the gas alert level was declared, the head of the Federal Network Agency expects prices to rise sharply. Economics Minister Habeck sees a “price wave” coming to Germany. He doesn’t even rule out a complete halt to deliveries via Nord Stream 1.

The President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, believes it is possible for consumer prices for gas to triple. “If you extrapolate it, it depends a lot on how you heat, how your building is built, but it can triple the previous gas bill,” Müller told ntv. Economics Minister Robert Habeck, who had previously declared the gas alert level, does not rule out such a price jump. “It’s within the realm of possibility,” he said in the “RTL Nachtjournal”. “So a price wave is coming to Germany, and it can no longer be averted, because the prices have already accumulated.”

According to the Federal Network Agency, the price level has risen by 50 percent since deliveries of Russian gas were cut last week. “Many gas importers say they would like to pass this on,” said Müller. However, the price adjustment clause would have to be activated for this. Whether that happens depends very much on how the gas flows develop. “We know that there is a maintenance window on July 11. Nord Stream 1 will be completely shut down and we don’t know what will happen after that.”

Habeck does not rule out a complete cessation of Russian gas supplies via Nord Stream 1. “I would be lying if I said I’m not afraid of it,” he said on RTL. “The argument that there are problems with compressor stations is a technically advanced argument. This is a political measure from Moscow. And who knows what the next political measure will be. Well, I’m not without worries.”

BDI: Gas alert level “comprehensible”

The Federation of German Industries (BDI) described the proclamation of the gas alert as “understandable”. This is a reaction to the increasingly serious supply situation, said BDI President Siegfried Russwurm. “The politically driven reduction in Russian gas supplies poses immense challenges for society and industry.” It is reasonable to distribute the associated burdens fairly.

The SPD parliamentary group is pushing for further relief for citizens. The situation is serious, said parliamentary group leader Matthias Miersch. He appealed to consumers and companies to save energy. “But that alone won’t be enough: we need a protective shield for households: for example, we have to prevent tenants from ending up on the street or their gas being turned off.” Power cuts would have to be banned by law for fall and winter. “We’ve got to get this moving quickly now.”

Verena Hubertz, also deputy leader of the parliamentary group, also called for targeted support for companies. “We must (…) also ensure that companies do not collapse in the face of the sharp rise in energy prices – we must absolutely prevent mass unemployment and insolvencies.” Top representatives of the SPD, Greens and FDP had discussed further relief in the coalition committee on Wednesday evening, but had not decided on it.

Economy demand “gas bonus”

FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner meanwhile referred to the measures that had been decided on the Welt television station. “We now have some relief that is yet to come. Child benefit payments, the energy price flat rate, the abolition of the EEG surcharge, which makes the electricity price more expensive. Well, now in the next few weeks people will only be able to get some relief.” These were noticeable. “A family of four – two adults who work, two children – are relieved in the end with sometimes more than 1000 euros. That has already been decided – but the relief has not yet reached people’s wallets. I think we should wait.”

Two leading economists suggested a “gas bonus.” “Before you resort to legal savings measures with a view to consumers, you should set targeted incentives for this group,” wrote Veronika Grimm and the chairman of the Advisory Council for Consumer Affairs, Peter Kenning, in the “Handelsblatt”. The economists rejected Habeck’s ideas about introducing mandatory energy saving measures. “High premium payments” to consumers are more suitable if they reduce their gas consumption by a certain percentage compared to the previous year.

The chairman of the Verdi services union, Frank Werneke, believes that a gas price cap at the pre-crisis level for a volume of 12,000 kilowatt hours per household is necessary “so that the supply of affordable heating energy remains secure,” he told the “Handelsblatt”. Werneke also called for security for employees in municipal utilities, regional suppliers and in the gas industry. A gas shortage situation endangers the supply of the population and necessary supply chains in the economy. “The federal government must therefore take all measures to protect employees and the necessary infrastructure for Germany’s energy supply,” he said, according to a statement.

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